Bill Granger's easy summer feast


Bill Granger

Friends for dinner? Try these light, Asian-inspired dishes made to please a crowd on a summer evening, says Bill Granger. 

Baked Chinese-style bream with bok choy.

Baked Chinese-style bream with bok choy. Photo: Kristin Perers



This fish is a supremely host-friendly dish – it's also delicious once it's cooled down, so there's no stress if some guests turn up late.

Coconut rice pudding with lemon grass and lime syrup.

Coconut rice pudding with lemon grass and lime syrup. Photo: Kristin Perers



For the fish

3 bream, cleaned, about 500g each

1 lemon, sliced

2cm ginger, peeled and shredded

handful dill sprigs

For the fish dressing

1½ tbsp light-flavoured oil

8 spring onions, shredded ­

2cm ginger, peeled and shredded

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 red chillies

1½ tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

For the bok choy

1½ tbsp soy sauce

1½ tbsp mirin

squeeze of lemon juice

4 large heads of bok choy, halved

Preheat oven to 180°C. Make three deep slashes on either side of the fish and stuff each with a slice of lemon and a little ginger. Stuff any leftover lemon and ginger into the cavity of each fish, also adding the dill. Lay the fish in a large baking tray. Splash over a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

To make the fish dressing, heat the oil in a wok over a high heat. Add spring onion, ginger, garlic and chilli and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, until aromatic and crisp. Pour into a bowl and stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside.

For the bok choy, put the soy, mirin, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of water in a large wok or frying pan and bring to a simmer. Add the bok choy, cover and steam for 4-5 minutes until tender.

Remove the fish from the oven, place them on the platter and serve immediately with the dressing spooned over and the bok choy on the side.


This is such a great, cooling dessert – zingy and fresh, but still with plenty of body.


200g arborio rice

1 litre full-cream milk, plus extra to serve

4 tbsp raw caster sugar

4 tbsp desiccated coconut

400ml can coconut milk

For the syrup

½ cup golden caster sugar

cup lime juice, plus grated zest of 3 limes

2 lemon grass stalks, bashed

To serve

4 passionfruit, halved, with flesh scooped

1 mango, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 150ºC. Place the rice, milk and sugar into a shallow oven-proof dish. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the desiccated coconut and coconut milk and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Give the pudding a good stir, cover again and bake for 1 hour, or until the rice is tender. Cover the surface of the rice with cling wrap to prevent a skin forming. Once the pudding has cooled, chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

To make the syrup, put the sugar, lime juice, zest and lemon grass in a small pan over a low heat with 1/2 cup water. Stir until all of the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer, then bubble for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is slightly reduced and syrupy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Cover and keep in the fridge.

Just before serving, loosen the pudding slightly with a little cold milk. Scoop into bowls, drizzle with syrup and serve with passionfruit and mango on the side.

Bill's tip
The beauty of these dishes is that they can easily be doubled for a larger party - with little hands-on preparation involved, more mouths won't mean much more work.